Cruel mercy

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain
 mercy." Matthew 5:7

When the sun shines—the ice melts. When the Sun of
righteousness once shines with beams of grace upon
the soul—then it melts in mercy and tenderness.

Mercifulness is a melting disposition whereby we lay
to heart the miseries of others, and are instrumental
for their good. We must chiefly be merciful to the
SOULS of others. Indeed soul-mercy is the chief of
mercies. The soul is the most precious thing; it is a
rich diamond set in a ring of clay. Had we seen that
madman in the gospel cutting himself with stones—
it would have moved our pity (Mark 5:5). To see a
sinner stabbing himself and having his hands imbrued
in his own blood, should cause us to sincerely pity him.

That is a cruel mercy—when we see men go on in
sin, and we let them alone. And that is a merciful
—when we are sharp against men's sins and
will not let them go to hell quietly.

Fond sentimentality
is no better than cruelty.

The surgeon cuts and lances the flesh—but it is in
order to a cure. They are healing wounds. So when
we lance men's consciences and let out the blood of
sin, we exercise spiritual surgery. This is showing

"Rescue others by snatching them from the fire!"
(Jude 23). If a man had fallen into the fire, though
you hurt him a little in pulling him out—he would be
thankful and take it as a kindness. Some men, when
we tell them of sin say, 'O, you are unloving!' No! it
is showing mercy. If a man's house were on fire, and
another should see it and not tell him of it, for fear of
waking him—would not this be cruelty? When we see
others sleeping in their sin, and the fire of God's wrath
ready to burn them up—and we are silent—is not this

They are unmerciful ministers who, instead of
breaking the bread of life—fill their people's heads
with airy speculations and notions! Some ministers
endeavor only to be admired. They go into the pulpit
only to amuse the people. Such ministers give poison
to their people in a golden cup! They are the devil's
ambassadors, who ride up and down, and with Satan
compass the earth—to deceive and devour souls!